Protecting the environment with intelligence

Forests & Carbon

Caught REDD Handed.

Forests can be either a carbon source or a carbon store – a climate asset or a climate threat, since forests absorb carbon when left standing but release it when cleared or degraded.

Poor governance has severely damaged carbon-rich forests, resulting in forests worldwide producing 12-25 per cent of global carbon emissions.

Indonesia’s 2005 emissions totaled 2.1 gigatonnes – 76 per cent of which, 1.6 giga tons, were from the forestry and land-use sectors. Legal and illegal logging and plantations expansion are the main causes.

In response, parties to the United Nights Framework Convention on Climate Change are rapidly exploring incentives for developing countries to reduce these emissions, in a scheme entitled Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). While the scheme has the potential to create less destructive low-carbon development paths, significant uncertainties remain.

EIA’s engagement in the REDD debate is multifaceted, seeking to:

  • build environmental and social safeguards into the international rules of REDD
  • work with local partners in Indonesia and elsewhere so civil society can influence national REDD strategy development
  • document causes of deforestation, such as illegal logging and plantations expansion to supply consumer and commodity markets, including emerging biofuels markets
  • link forest governance and law enforcement reforms to REDD implementation in Indonesia
  • monitor new systems and projects for fraud, including in the carbon markets.